Saturday, May 13, 2006


I've been kicking around some questions lately. Questions that I have not found the answer to. Those are the worst kind of questions.

I read a book recently by a guy who is the senior pastor of a church that averages greater than 20,000 each weekend in attendance. That's a lot of human livestock. His father is a famous pastor as well and they both serve deep in the bible belt. The younger pastor, the son, started his church within the last ten years. I suspect that some, perhaps many, of his congregation came from his father's church. They had a bit of a falling-out. They've mended the fences now and they minister if in radically different ways. This son is younger than I am by at least a decade I think. I'm really not sure. Anyway, as I read this book I found myself hearing him make some claims that I do not agree with. I mean, I do not even come close to agreeing with him. We are on totally different pages. Our disagreements are not on the major elements of the faith. We both believe in salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and all of the basic trimmings that go along with traditional Christian doctrine. Yet there are some finer points of the faith that we do not see eye to eye on. Some thoughts on how the scriptures indicate we should "do church." We disagree on church management and basically the way it should all be put together. Here's where I get worried. He's pastoring a church of 20,000 and saying things that I consider dumb. I am a youth pastor of maybe 75 kids and totally agree with myself. (Of course.) Is it not obvious that HE is right and I am wrong? Does success equal correctness in methods and motivations? I do not know what to do about that.

I keep asking God for permission to do something and He keeps telling me "no." He tells me "no" repeatedly and clearly. And yet I am miserable not doing what I am asking Him for permission to do. Not just a little miserable. Major league miserable. I am not one of those that believes the way to tell if you are in God's will is by whether or not you have peace. Jesus did not seem to have much peace in the Garden of Gethsemane. I mean, He sweat blood. Yet it was His Father's will that He continue on in a very difficult path. A path that was about to prove extremely costly. I thought that God was telling me to do this thing. Everything within me said that He was and my passion for doing it was increasing. And then He told me to stop trying to do it. Just stop. Why would He do that? Again ... I do not know what to do about that.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog I keep dreaming about my dad. It is pretty much a nightly occurance. They are not ugly dreams. They are just dreams. He has been gone for nearly 6 years now. It took me 5 1/2 years to start dreaming about him and now I cannot stop. Tomorrow is mother's day. My mom died about 1 1/2 years ago. I doubt that I will dream about her tonight. I just know that dad is going to show up again. I hope I remember to tell him in my dream that I would like him to wish mom a happy mother's day for me. i have a young friend. She is 17 years old. 2 years ago she found out that the man she always thought was her father is not. Her father is a man who impregnated her mother, married her, and left after just a couple of months. So not only has she never met her real dad but now her pretend dad has walked out on the family. My friend feels like she lost her real dad and her pretend dad all at the same time. She is asking me if I understand what she feels. She is asking me what to do because she wants to find her real dad and ask him some hard questions. I will help her in every way that I can. I will be there for her. But these dreams ... I do not know what to do about that.

Sometimes there are just too many questions and too few answers. When that happens I begin to feel driven to go away. I want to find a quiet place. I want to turn the world off and sit very quietly looking for God to come and give me some direction or speak some words of wisdom. Or at least to sit with me and, in so doing, remind me that He is the only answer that I really need. I find myself listening easily to my phone ringing without any inclination to pick it up. I find myself smiling at people who expect more of me than anyone has a right to expect. I find myself thinking about how they have no idea how silly and self-serving they are. I find myself watching murder mysteries on television and wishing life's real issues could, just this once, be resolved in sixty minutes. I find myself looking at my young adult children, loving them passionately, being amazed at how they really believe that I am rather slow of thought, backward in method, and totally without comprehension of that which makes life delicious. And I try to keep my smile on the inside because there is absolutely no way I can explain to them what it is that life is going to do to them in the next few decades and how they will one day find themselves sitting off in a corner, exactly as I am now, and realizing that with so many questions bombarding them from every conceivable direction, there is only one answer. The answer is a person. How can a person also be an answer? I do not know how. He just is. And I know that if I try to tell them what that answer is they will smile condescendingly and be totally convinced in their hearts and minds that they totally "get it" so quickly after attaining puberty. They think they know the answers ... and they have yet to even hear the questions. And I will not have enough energy or heart to laugh at them. Much less argue. It would not do them or I any good.

At the end of the day, after over 3 years of constant intense spiritual warfare, the suffering of more emotional and spiritual woundings that I can even begin to remember, and a total lack of desire to record any more of it in my most private of journals because I just become physically nauseaus every time I think about it all ... at the end of the day I am simply shocked that there are so many, many questions. And only one Jesus. And He often does not tell me the answers. He just comes and sits. Sometimes He speaks and sometimes He does not. But when He comes ... the questions ... the questions do not matter anymore. And I think that makes Him the answer. I have no idea how that works.

But I cannot say I wasn't given fair warning.


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